When we die, invisible maggots nibble on our soul, eventually metamorphosing into ethereal moths. In the steampunk story Maggots from Heaven, we see Castor experiment on living subjects, trying to extract these divine grubs.
For this month we explore landscapes created with junk food, insane Steampunk calculators, and a vampire hunting kit.
Blue Dye #1 Precipice from the series Processed Views 2014
Junk Food Landscapes
Always on the look out for the latest and most surreal items this world has to offer, I was stunned by how artists Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman used junk food to recreate classic photographs by Carleton Watkins. Look at how the food artists recreated a 1869 photograph of the Farallon Islands photographs.
And now the Ciurej/Lochman version, titled Cola Sea (from the series Processed Views2013).
The artists use processed food to point out just how far our food has diverged from nature. They state: “As we move further away from the sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health.”
Most of use think of calculators are objects from the computer age. Who can blame us when adding apps are available on smartphones or even Google.
Check out these truly gorgeous beauties from an age where objects were crafted by hand. The calculator, built by Johann Helfrich Müller in 1784, evokes stempunk passion with it’s brass knobs and dials. Check out this close up the workings:
To view more of these marvelous mechanical wonders, visit this site.
A Love Story Through Coffee
Although this short film features a food product, and thus might fall under the category of propaganda, it’s so charming that it captures my heart. The characters, a boy and a girl, are dusted onto the tops of 1000 cups of cappuccino. The story shows their courtship, love, and family. The commercial is for Ajinomoto General Foods’ Maxim Stick drink flavoring. Watch and enjoy.
Imagine a dress that would react to people around you. Lash out if you felt threatened. Light up if you were happy? Sound like something from Bladerunner? Think again. These dresses have become reality, thanks to Dutch fashiontech designer Anouk Wipprecht.
This is Anouk’s Spider Dress 2.0. The spider leg epaulettes on each shoulder are actually tiny robots. They link to proximity sensors and a respiration sensor. This means that if someone moves aggressively towards you, and you don’t like it, your increase in respiration will trigger the mechanical legs to move up and into an attack position. Additionally the black LED shells stationed along the garment, meant to resemble spider eyes, automatically flash in warning when someone gets near you.
Anouk’s original Spider Dress (designed in collaboration with engineer Daniel Schatzmayr) shows the sinister robotic spider legs. These legs also extend, but won’t react to the proximity of others. It was simply meant as a performance art piece about personal space.
Although the Spider Dress is Anouk’s most recent project, he has experimented with interactive clothing for a while. Take the Smoke Dress, which covers the wearer with fog as soon as people approach. The Smoke Dress functions as a protective shield, the designer says, “just like an octopus in self-defense” envelops itself in clouds of ink.”
Anouk also created her Synapse Dress which reads the wear’s thoughts. When the person is excited about something, this triggers the LED lights in the dress to glow. It creates a sense of vulnerability because everyone around you will know what you are thinking.
Much of the interactivity in Anouk’s fashion are thanks to an Intel chip called Edison. Watch the micro-documentary about how the chip helps the clothes sense the users thoughts.
One of Anouk’s earliest fashion and tech mashups looks like it came straight out of a Steampunk novel. The Faraday Dress lights up when exposed to the power of high-voltage, low-current, high-frequency, alternating-current electricity. That forking lightning you see in the picture is real. 94 metal panels comprised the outfit, cut out of a sheet of metal using the water jet.
In this making of video you can see a hesitant model wearing the dress as the faraday device launches arcs of electricity at the dress.
Anouk Wipprecht lives and works in San Francisco. She strives to create fashion that will connect the body and the clothing. She began combining fashion and technology three years ago. A one year sting to Sweden offered her a chance to study “body, fashion & technology” at the Malmo university. There she worked on Arduino-based application possibilities and smart fabric concepting.
October is the creepiest month, so I’ve saved my creepiest weird tidbits for this month.
Optical Illusion Rugs
Want to creep out your visitors? Make them hesitate to step into your home? Then purchase one of these optical illusion rugs. They’re so good, I think I would scoot around the perimeter rather than step inside. See more here.
Even if your guest manages to avoid the rug, would he or she be willing to sit down on this chair?
Designed by Yaara Derkel, the cutout of the Coppelius Chair creates the shadow of a monstrous creature when lit from above. The best part about this chair is that when it’s lit in any other way, it looks just like a normal chair.
Cute But Deadly Forest Imp
Not everything with large eyes and fur is meant to be cuddled. Take this short film “Murphy” made by students at ISART Digital. It features a seemingly well meaning creature that torments a WWII soldier.
An English paratrooper crashes behind enemy lines and has to rely on the help of this seemingly benign creature. I get a certain “Yoda” feel from it at times, but the end is hilarious.
Most artists keep their sketches confined to the page. But not Troqman. His cartoons interact with the environment in hilarious ways.
Found Object Bugs
These insects are created from found objects and create a steampunk vibe. Mark Oliver makes his “Litter Bugs” from gears, old eyeglasses, tins, and other things he collects.
On his website, he describes how his art is a throwback to Victorian bug collecting. Each of his projects boasts a scientific name.
“Urban Entomology is Mark’s (Post Modern) bow of respect to the Victorian tradition of insect collecting, where the decaying and disposed – the ‘litter’ of modernity, is assembled to create illusory collage. He intends the work to fascinate from a distance, and reveal humour and beautiful art upon closer inspection.”
Stay creepy this Halloween and keep your eyes open for mischievous furry creatures wanting to help you.
The first book review for the blog tour is in. Tara, from Dividing by Zero, reviewed Tarot: The Magician.
The story itself is well-written and engaging. Each chapter begins with a quote from a Romantic poet (Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, etc.), as Kassandra is a poetry lover. As a fan of the Romantics myself, I liked this added insight into the character and her interests (and her emotional state). This book is a page-turner; it’s fast-paced and the author keeps the action moving. I especially enjoyed Kassandra’s journey through the cards as she tries to solve the problems she’s faced with and find her way out. And the ending gives me hope for a sequel (or a series?).
When Kassandra Troy discovers an ancient tarot deck, her life takes a thrilling and frightening turn. She triggers The Magician card, and releases the mysterious and captivating Luke Rykell. He lifts Kassandra out of despair, dispelling the devastation she feels after her father’s death. But Luke has a dark secret. He wants the magical deck for himself. The only way Kassandra can save herself is to journey into the Tarot cards. But once inside, can she ever escape?
Irresistibly compelling and heart-wrenching, Tarot: The Magician is a superb fantasy tale that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.
I worked for over two months drawing and coloring the panels you see in this trailer. I wanted it to be as special as the book. However, I was daunted by the music. I’m no musician. However, if it were silent, or had canned music, that would undermine all the hard work I put into the animation. Bradley Coy came to my rescue. For the full story on how the theme for the book trailer was created, read A Theme Song for an ebook.
By helping me promote Tarot: The Magician, you some gifts. This time around, I’m giving away the Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell. It looks wickedly cool. I’m quite temped to order a second for myself.
You’ll also get some cash to spend. I’ll email you an Amazon gift card so you can buy your own swag.
Click this LINK or anywhere on the image below to take you to enter the giveaway. You can also enter via Facebook. Hurry, this event ends Friday, June 20th!